walk cycle animation and how to reference it

What Is Walk Cycle Animation And How to Reference It?

A walk cycle is a repeating sequence of animation frames that depict a character walking. In a walk cycle, the character’s legs move forward and back in a rhythmic pattern, while the upper body and head remain relatively static.

Walk cycles are a fundamental element of character animation, and are used to create the illusion of a character moving through a scene. A well-designed walk cycle can add a lot of realism and personality to a character and is an essential skill for any animator to master.

How do you reference in Walk Cycle animation?

When it comes to animating a walk cycle, there are a few things you need to know in order to make it look believable. First, you’ll want to study how people actually walk, called Walk Cycle Animation Reference.

There are many different ways to walk, and each one looks slightly different. You’ll also want to pay attention to the timing and rhythm of a walk cycle. It’s essential that these aspects be consistent from frame to frame.

Finally, you’ll need to create some basic keyframes for your character’s limbs. Once you have all this figured out, you can start animating your walk cycle!

How many keyframes are in a walk cycle Animation?

The number of keyframes in a walk cycle animation can vary depending on the complexity of the animation and the number of poses used to create the walk cycle. In general, a walk cycle animation will have at least four keyframes: one for the contact pose, one for the passing pose, and two for the poses in between these two.

Walk Cycle Animation Reference
Credits-Richard Williams

However, many animators will use more keyframes to create a smoother, more realistic walk cycle. For example, some animators may use six or eight keyframes, with each keyframe representing a different pose in the walk cycle. This allows for more detailed and nuanced movement and can make the walk cycle look more realistic.

Ultimately, the number of keyframes in a walk cycle animation is up to the individual animator and will depend on the specific goals and needs of the animation.

How do you animate a character’s walk cycle?

To create a character’s walk cycle, you will need to use some form of animation software, such as Blender or Maya. Here is a general outline of the steps you can follow to create a walk cycle:

  1. Start by creating a rough sketch of your character in the pose they will start the walk cycle in. This is known as the “contact” pose and is the pose where the character’s feet are in contact with the ground.
  2. Next, create a second sketch of the character in the “passing” pose, where one foot is in the air and the other is on the ground. This pose should show the character in mid-stride.
  3. From these two poses, you can then create the remaining poses for the walk cycle. This will typically involve drawing a series of poses that show the character’s feet moving from the contact position to the passing position, and then back again.
  4. Once you have all of the poses for the walk cycle, you can then use your animation software to “keyframe” the movement of the character’s body parts. This involves setting keyframes at key points in the animation and then letting the software interpolate the movement between those keyframes.
  5. Finally, you can add any additional details and polish to the walk cycle, such as facial expressions and clothing movement. This will help to bring the character to life and make the walk cycle look more realistic.

Overall, creating a walk cycle takes a lot of planning, practice, and patience. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can create a realistic and convincing walk cycle for your character.


In conclusion, the walk cycle animation reference is a great way to improve your animation skills. By studying the different movements and poses of the character, you can create a more lifelike and believable animation. Be sure to use the resources available to you, such as the walk cycle animation reference, to improve your skills and create better animations.

3 thoughts on “What Is Walk Cycle Animation And How to Reference It?”

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